Planning Board budget passes budget with slight increase to municipalities

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GORE BAY – The Manitoulin Planning Board (MPB) has passed its 2020 budget which will see a very small increase related to staff salary/wages, new computers and upgrades to this equipment used by office staff.

At a meeting last week, Jake Diebolt, GIS technician/co-ordinator for MPB told the meeting, “the comparison of the revenue and expenditures (for 2019) and the 2020 draft budget is something we looked at at our last meeting (in February), and then went to the budget committee, (including MPB chair Richard Stephens, and board members Ken Noland and Ian Anderson).”

“There are no real big changes to what has been proposed,” said Mr. Diebolt. “The 2020 budget is largely similar to the budget for 2019. The notable differences from the 2019 budget include an increase to staff salary/wages of two percent, in line with the inflation rate of 2.1 percent year over year.”

Another change that Mr. Diebolt outlined has to do with an increase “of $1,500 for new computers and upgrades to current computers to for Windows 10, as the previous system is no longer supported.” He explained as well, “there is a small increase, maybe $100 to communications and copy expenses due to increased costs.”
 “There are no changes in application fees; most fees will stay the same,” said Mr. Diebolt. The budget would see a small increase in requisitions to municipalities within the MPB, as the overall requisitions would increase from $108,312.50 in 2019 to $112,532 in 2020.

The budget also provides for a surplus from the 2019 budget of $1,290 with accruals applied. 

“Everything seems pretty straight forward,” said Chair Stephens. 

Mr. Diebolt pointed out the MPB came in under budget on development of the new official plan, in the amount of $7,841.90. “So, we have to figure out what to do with that money. We have to go back to municipalities and ask everyone what they would like to see us do with this (leftover) money, as well as discussing this with the MPB accountants. 

Chair Stephens proposed that the funds could possibly be used as a deduction in each member of the MPB municipal allotments. 

“Before we look at that we would have to check with all the municipalities to make sure this would be okay,” said Mr. Diebolt. 

It was further suggested by Mr. Noland these funds could be rolled into the natural heritage and zoning bylaw work that the MPB still has to carry out.

It was pointed out by Mr. Noland, who is the reeve of Burpee and Mills Township, that his municipality provided for a two percent wage increase for its municipal employees this year as well.
The 2020 budget was approved by the board in the amount of $180,026, as was the 2019 financial statements.